Do outstanding whitewater, sunny skies, and easy accessibility whet your appetite for fun? Then a Deschutes River whitewater rafting trip is for you.
This is not the river on which to seek solitude - the Deschutes is too popular for that.*And with good reason. The Deschutes combines good white water with a location near reasonably near Portland. The section we run is located in the rain-shadow of the Cascade Mountains, which results in an enjoyably dry and sunny climate. So the weather is often very good, with hot, sunny days and cool, starry nights the norm. Particularly in the springtime, don't be surprised if the Deschutes is basking in the sun while the Willamette Valley to the west is socked in with chilling drizzle.
Whatever the weather, the Deschutes offers numerous thrilling rapids, including Wapinitia, Boxcar, Cyclops, Surf City, and Oak Springs. But for some the greatest thrill comes at Elevator rapids. After running elevator in our rafts we stop along shore, and those who wish can accompany one our guides as we "swim" (float feet-first) through the rapid.
Narrow canyons, rapids and numerous waterfalls abound along the Deschutes, which the early French explorers called "le Riviere des Chutes," meaning "the River of Falls." The Deschutes arises on the eastern slopes of the Cascades in the south central part of the state, and flows northward 250 miles to its confluence with the Columbia. The Deschutes is unusual for its very consistent flow rate throughout the year. This is caused by the massive porous lava beds south and west of Bend, where the main stream and its major tributaries originate. These sponge-like formations trap the springtime snow melt, then release it at a steady rate throughout the year.
*Summer weekends are often quite crowded. If you are planning a trip for July or August we recommend that you choose a midweek date if possible.
For many perhaps the best thing about the Deschutes is the weather. The section we run is located in the rain-shadow of the Cascade Mountains, which results in an enjoyably dry and sunny climate. Yes, it does rain here, as it does almost everywhere else on the planet. But often when the Willamette Valley to the west is socked in with this chilling drizzle, the Deschutes is basking in the sun.
Whatever the weather, the Deschutes offers numerous thrilling rapids. Some of the bigger drops (in order of appearance) are Wapinitia, Boxcar, Surf City, Oak Springs, and White River. But for many the greatest thrill comes at Elevator rapids. After running elevator in our rafts we stop along shore, and those who wish can accompany one our guides as we float feet-first through the rapid (wearing our lifejackets, of course!).
Half Day trips
Morning half day trips meet at 9:30 AM*, and afternoon half day trips meet at 1:00 PM*. in front of the Oasis Cafe, on the east side of the river, in the town of Maupin.
One Day trips
We meet at 10:00 AM* the day of your trip in front of the Oasis Cafe, on the east side of the river, in Maupin.
Our Lead Guide will meet you in front of the cafe. Look for a vehicle sporting the O.R.E. logo. After a brief orientation you will park your vehicle across the street from the Oasis, and you will board an O.R.E. van for the 15 minute ride to the launch point at Harpham Flat.
Once we arrive at our launch site, you will meet the rest of our guide crew, and our lead guide will conduct a safety orientation. We'll then all board rafts and be on our way downstream.
Day trips include a stop for a riverside lunch between noon and 1 PM, and typically also include a stop for either a hike or a swim at the swimming rapids.
We typically arrive at Sandy Beach, our take-out point, around 1:00 PM in the case of half day morning trips and around 4 PM in the case of 1/2 day afternoon trips and full day trips.** The guides will load the boats onto our trailer and we'll then all board the van for the 20 minute ride back to Maupin.
Our half day Deschutes trips cover the same distance as our full day trips. The difference is that on half day trips we do not stop for lunch and we do not stop for hikes or to swim at the swimming rapids. Half day trips may be arranged to include these stops, but fewer miles will be covered in this case.
* Please plan your drive carefully so as to arrive at our meeting place on time. Our guides will attempt to wait for you if you are running late, but circumstances typically do not allow them to wait more than 20 minutes. If you miss your intended trip we will most likely not be able to provide a transfer to an alternate trip, and we are unable to provide a refund for missed trips.
** Many factors influence our timetable, including water levels, winds, and the needs and preferences of our guests. Please consider these times approximate.
- The services of our professional guides and staff.
- Transportation to and from our meeting place.
- A hearty lunch at riverside on full day trips. Lunch is freshly prepared by our guides from the highest quality ingredients. Special dietary needs can be accommodated with advance notice.
- Durable, professional quality rafts and river running equipment, including splash jackets and U.S. Coast Guard Approved lifejackets and helmets.
- Waterproof river bags for your personal gear.
Half Day trips
Morning half day trips meet at 9:30 AM, and afternoon half day trips meet at 1:00 PM. in front of the Oasis Cafe, on the east side of the river, in Maupin. Maupin is roughly 100 miles from Portland. We will make our shuttle arrangements there, before going to the launch site. Please have your breakfast (or lunch, in the case of afternoon trips) before we meet.
One Day trips
We meet at 10:00 AM the day of your trip in front of the Oasis Cafe, on the east side of the river, in Maupin. Maupin is roughly 100 miles from Portland. We will make our shuttle arrangements there, before going to the launch site. Please have your breakfast before our meeting time.
Morning half day trips typically end by approximately 1:00 PM. Afternoon half day trips and full day trips typically end by approximately 4 PM. (Many factors influence our timetable, including water levels, winds, and the needs and preferences of our guests. Please consider these times approximate.)
From Portland we recommend that you take US-26 (the Mt. Hood Highway) east to the junction with OR-216. Then follow OR-216 to its junction with US-197, which will take you into Maupin. For additional information see the maps page.
Shuttle specifics vary by day and group. In most cases you will leave your car in Maupin and ride in an ORE van to put-in, and in an ORE van again from take-out back to Maupin when the trip ends. Alternatively, you may be asked to drive to take-out in your own vehicle, and then a shuttle van will transport you to the put-in.
In general you will simply need to bring only your own clothing, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen, a change of clothes and a water bottle.
A complete list of what to bring is found here. You will receive a copy of this list when you sign up for your trip.
Fishing on the Deschutes is generally good during summer months and excellent in the fall. If you would like to fish you will need an Oregon fishing license, which may be purchased at Oregon sporting goods stores,online at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's web site, or at several locations adjacent to our meeting place.
Cabins are available at the Oasis Resort (our meeting place). The Oasis may be reached at 541-395-2611. If you will be combining your raft trip with a visit to Mount Hood, the Columbia Gorge, or Portland you will find numerous lodging opportunities in those areas.
Several BLM campsites are found along the river both upstream and downstream of Maupin. These sites are first-come-first-served. You may also reserve a campsite at the Maupin City Park by calling the park at 541-395-2252.
Options abound for combining your raft trip with other activities. Consider a visit to the waterfalls and hiking trails of Columbia River Gorge, the alpine scenery of Mount Hood, or the culture and cuisine of the Portland metropolitan area. All are within a 2 hour drive of the river.
Guests sometimes ask whether it is appropriate to tip their guide. Tipping is optional, but if your guide did a great job then feel free to thank him or her with a gratuity. The amount is up to you, but tips between 8% and 20% of trip cost are customary.
- Often sunny & warm even when western Oregon is cloudy.
- Good swimming (though water is cool).
- High volume river, which means large waves even in summer.
- Desert scenery.
- Two hours east of Portland.
- Crowded on summer weekends.
- Near: Maupin
- Trip Length: Half & full day; 3 day Upper Section
- Meeting Times: 9:30 & 10 AM, 1 PM; 7:30 AM
- 2020 Season: April - October
- Trip type: paddle rafting (oar raft by request)
- Whitewater Rating: III (intermediate)
- Suggested minimum age: 7